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Maryland

  •  Calvert County Honors Their WWI Fallen

    The Calvert County WWI Memorial Marker is located at the Calvert County Courthouse in Prince Frederick.  It was sculpted by Edward Berge (1876-1924), is 6.25’ feet high and is mounted on an 8’ base.  The inscription on front reads: The soldiers and sailors from Calvert County who lost their lives in the World War.  “1920” is engraved in the stone base (marking the date the memorial was put in place).  Inscription on back reads:  This memorial is erected by the citizens of Calvert County to perpetuate the memory of their sons and daughters who made the supreme sacrifice and to those who served their country in the great World War: 1917-1918.

    Three hundred and fifteen men from Calvert County enlisted; 18 died during the war and are named on the Memorial.  These soldiers are listed below:

    George Armiger

    USN, declared “officially lost” June 14, 1918. I was a member of the crew of the USS Cyclops, a collier or coal ship, which departed Norfolk Naval Station on a snowy day in January 1918 headed to the South Atlantic to refuel US and allied naval vessels. We arrived safely in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil and then departed February 16 northbound with a load of manganese ore. Our skipper decided to make an unscheduled stop in Barbados concerned that we may have been overloaded. We left Barbados on March 4 enroute to Baltimore but we never made it. On June 1, 1918, then Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt declared that the Cyclops and her crew were officially lost after an extensive search failed to locate the vessel. To this day, the vessel has never been found, presumed to have sunk in the Bermuda Triangle. The German Navy declared that it had not sunk the Cyclops.

  • Fort George G. Meade
    Fort Meade became an active Army installation in 1917. Authorized by an Act of Congress in May 1917, it was one of 16 cantonments built for troops drafted for the war with the Central Powers in Europe. The present Maryland site was selected June 23, 1917 because of its close proximity to the railroad, Baltimore port and Washington D.C. The cost for construction was $18 million and the land sold for $37 per acre in 1917. The Post was originally named Camp Meade for Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade, whose victory at the Battle of Gettysburg proved a major factor in turning the tide of the Civil War in favor of the North.

    World War I
    During World War I, more than 400,000 Soldiers passed through Fort Meade, a training site for three infantry divisions, three training battalions and one depot brigade. During World War I, the Post remount station collected over 22,000 horses and mules. Major Peter F. Meade, a nephew of General Meade, was the officer in charge of the remount station. The "Hello Girls" were an important part of Fort Meade history. The women served as bilingual telephone-switchboard operators in the U.S. Army Signal Corps. In 1928, the Post was redesignated Fort Leonard Wood, but Pennsylvania congressmen, angry at removing the name of native son George Meade, held up Army appropriations until the Army agreed to name the new permanent installation Fort George G. Meade on March 5, 1929.

    Fort Meade has recently released a book titled Fort George G. Meade: The First 100 Years.  The full book can be found at http://www.ftmeade.army.mil/100Years.pdf

  • To the Glory of Maryland: Conservation of the World War I Memorial to the Fifth Regiment

    Written by Nancy Kurtz

    1. 5th Regiment Armory MD_23

    WWI Memorial, Fifth Regiment Armory (photo copyright: J. Brough Schamp)

    The magnificent World War I Memorial over the entrance of the Fifth Regiment Armory in Baltimore recently was cleaned and refurbished, the work coordinated by the Governor’s Commission on Maryland Military Monuments and the Department of General Services, and funded by the Maryland Military Department.  Last maintained in 2001, the coatings on the bronze and copper elements had weathered and required removal and renewal.  Anticipating the 100th anniversary of the United States involvement in World War I and Armistice Day on November 11, 2018, the Commission funded a condition assessment in early 2016 and developed a plan for treatment in cooperation with the Military Department, the agency headquartered at the armory.

    The Commission has sponsored or co-sponsored conservation treatment for 112 Maryland monuments, including twenty-five commemorating World War I. Some projects were in partnership with Baltimore City or with the National Park Service. These include monuments at Antietam National Battlefield, Gettysburg National Military Park, and Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine. Potential projects are evaluated and selected according to condition, historical significance, and artistic merit.

    2. 5th Regiment Armory MD_03

    Fifth Regiment Armory in Baltimore (photo copyright: J. Brough Schamp)

    In order to preserve the completed work, the Commission manages, on a modest budget, a plan of cyclical maintenance carried out every 3-4 years for sixty of the treated monuments that do not fall under maintenance programs administered by other agencies. The sixty are owned by counties, municipalities and private organizations. Projects are added to the treatment and maintenance program according to need and budget. Maintenance of treated works is key to the success of the program. Performed by professional outdoor sculpture conservators, it typically entails washing the monuments and plaques, touching up the protective wax coatings on bronze, and attending to repair issues that may arise. Because the scope and cost of maintenance of the memorial at the Fifth Regiment Armory exceeded the annual budget of the Monuments Commission, it was funded by the Military Department.

    The Fifth Regiment of the 29th Division fought in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, part of the final Allied offensive and one of the largest in United States Military history. Over 30% of the Division was killed or wounded. This powerful sculpture by Baltimore artist Hans Schuler, dedicated on Armistice Day in 1925, features the allegorical figure of Victory leading the Regiment and comprises actual portraits of men who died at the front.  Schuler graduated from the Rinehart School of Sculpture of the Maryland Institute, studied in Paris where he was the first American sculptor awarded the Salon Gold Medal, and was president of the Maryland Institute from 1925 until 1951, the year of his death.  The memorial is an outstanding example of the figural bronze sculpture in demand for public art, monuments and private memorials in the early twentieth century.

    4. P1090305

    Deteriorated coatings on the memorial pre-conservation

    The inscription, “TO THE GLORY OF MARYLAND,” radiates in brass letters on a copper lunette surrounding the bronze sculptural group.  Below the sculptures is an honor roll of those who were lost.  Flanking the entrance are tablets carrying the names of those who served, capped with ornate shields and guarded by bronze eagles.  The two-story roll-down door is constructed of copper sheet over wood and embellished with decorative cast bronze elements.

    Detail of figures before laser cleaningAfter laser cleaning of face, with rifle in progress

                                                         Details of figures before laser cleaning                                         After cleaning of face, with rifle in process

    The memorial has had a variety of coatings applied over the years, which has hampered ongoing conservation efforts.  Chemical methods were not entirely successful in removing underlying layers of paint during the 2001 maintenance.  However, in summer of 2018 the deteriorated coatings were removed from the bronze and copper using recently available, highly precise laser technology, which revealed the historic surfaces under the coatings without removing the patina.

    Coatings removed from top of inscription and palm frondRemoval tests on brass rays and copper molding

    Coatings removed from top of inscription and palm frond

                                       Coatings removed from top of inscription and palm frond             Removal tests on brass rays and copper molding

    Following testing to determine the appropriate level of cleaning, Conservator Andrzej Dajnowski of Conservation of Sculpture and Objects Studio used laser technology to remove deteriorated coatings from the bronze  sculptures while preserving the patina beneath (click here to see a video of the process). The new coating of satin finish acrylic will protect the metal surfaces for many years while revealing and enhancing the richness of the colors.

    11. 5th Regiment Armory MD_29

    Detail of restored soldiers (photo copyright: J. Brough Schamp)

    The final step in the project was installation of new bird netting.  Inconspicuous from the ground, it prevents birds from roosting and nesting in the alcove and will protect the memorial well into the future.

    Bird netting (credit: BirdMaster)Netting from ground (credit: BirdMaster)

    Bird netting (credit: BirdMaster)                         Netting from ground (credit:BirdMaster)

    Administered by the Department of Planning, the Governor’s Commission on Maryland Military Monuments has developed and implemented the only statewide program of military monuments conservation and maintenance in the country.  The Commission was created in 1989 by Governor William Donald Schaefer and is charged with locating, determining maintenance responsibility for, and assisting in preservation of monuments in need.  At present count, 468 monuments to Marylanders have been identified, in and out of state.  Approximately 100 are owned and under the care of the City of Baltimore, the National Park Service, other federal agencies, or other states.  Sixty-one commemorate World War I.

    3. 5th Regiment Armory MD_15

    The restored Fifth Regiment memorial (photo copyright: J. Brough Schamp)

    The construction of new monuments is ongoing, and many of the monuments date from the mid-to-late 20th century.  The Commission is not charged with the creation of new monuments, and those who do so are encouraged to set aside funding for their maintenance. For more information on the work of the Monuments Commission and a guided tour of representative projects, please visit the Commission web page, hosted by the Maryland Historical Trust.

    The Governor’s Commission on Maryland Military Monuments and the Maryland Historical Trust are grateful to architectural photographer J. Brough Schamp, who documented the completed project. Mr. Schamp’s photos are copyrighted and used here with permission.  For information and permission for use, visit http://www.broughschampphotography.com

    Netting photos are courtesy of BirdMaster, as noted.

  •  Preserving The Ghost Fleet of Mallows Bay

    MallowsMallows Bay is situated south of Washington, D.C., along the tidal Lower Potomac River off the Nanjemoy Peninsula of Charles County, Maryland. This small embayment and adjacent waters contain one of the largest assemblages of shipwrecks in the Western Hemisphere. While there are nearly 200 known vessels dating from the Revolutionary War period to well into the 20th century, the vast majority represent the civilian efforts of the U.S. Shipping Board Emergency Fleet Corporation during World War I. The need to man this fleet was a significant factor in the expansion and development of the U.S. Merchant Marine. At almost 300 feet long the skeletal remains of the last wooden steamship fleet fill the bay and give the illusion of rising from the waters when the tide ebbs and have been dubbed, “The Ghost Fleet.”

    In addition, the area boasts archaeological sites and artifacts representing the depth of history of the Piscataway peoples and their ancestors in the region; there are Civil War encampments, as well as evidence for historic commercial fishing endeavors that include sturgeon fisheries and caviar canning.

    The area is contiguous to the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, the Star Spangled Banner National Historic Trail, the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail and the Lower Potomac Water Trail, which offers many educational and recreational opportunities.

    Thriving populations of bald eagles, heron, beaver, river otter, deer, turtles and numerous aquatic species call this area home. Striped bass, white perch, channel catfish, blue crab, and others make this area particularly popular for recreational fishing. In fact, Mallows Bay is widely regarded as one of the best bass fishing areas in the country.

  • poppyMaryland and World War I

    Over 62,000 Marylanders served in WWI, nearly 2,000 of whom lost their lives. During the war, Fort McHenry became the site of U.S. Army General Hospital No.2 while military installations such as Fort George G. Meade and Aberdeen Proving Grounds were created. Private Henry G. Costin and Ensign Charles Hammann received the Medal of Honor.

    Returning Maryland Veterans made important contributions. House of Delegates member Millard E. Tydings became a Lt. Colonel in the Army and later represented Maryland in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. SGT James Glenn Beall of the Army Ordnance Corps later served in the State Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. These were just two distinguished veterans among the thousands that returned to Maryland.

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  • poppyMaryland and World War I

    Over 62,000 Marylanders served in WWI, nearly 2,000 of whom lost their lives. During the war, Fort McHenry became the site of U.S. Army General Hospital No.2 while military installations such as Fort George G. Meade and Aberdeen Proving Grounds were created. Private Henry G. Costin and Ensign Charles Hammann received the Medal of Honor.

    Returning Maryland Veterans made important contributions. House of Delegates member Millard E. Tydings became a Lt. Colonel in the Army and later represented Maryland in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. SGT James Glenn Beall of the Army Ordnance Corps later served in the State Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. These were just two distinguished veterans among the thousands that returned to Maryland.

    America’s declaration of war against Germany in April 1917 found the nation unprepared for the multitude of tasks that had to be performed before an American Army could contribute in any meaningful way to an international land war on the scale of the fighting in Europe. The U.S. industrial base had barely begun to shift to a war footing, mostly as a result of business contracts to support the war requirements of England and France. As a result, U.S. combat forces were largely reliant on French and English military equipment, much of which was unavailable for training purposes—much less combat—until the American units reached France.

    It was not the habit of the United States to maintain a large standing army. Instead, the U.S. maintained a small army reinforced in time of emergency by federalizing National Guard units from the various states. Additional manpower could be raised through the draft. However, National Guard readiness for mobilization varied widely and units would have to be pulled together to undergo training and equipping before sailing to France. New inductees, either through the draft or volunteering, would require significantly more training before their readiness to participate in the collective tasks of combat or support units. Training camps to manage the influx of millions of young men were established throughout the U.S., including Camp Meade, southeast of Baltimore (now Fort Meade), and Aberdeen Proving Ground north of Baltimore.

    The first U.S. infantry division did not enter combat until April 1918. Others soon followed, but most U.S. divisions deployed to France during the spring and summer months of 1918, arriving only in time for the final offensives in September through the end of the fighting on November 11, 1918.

    Building these divisions, of approximately 20,000 men each, began when the government federalized the state national guards, including the Maryland National Guard, on August 5, 1917. Just under 6,900 Maryland national guardsmen mobilized and deployed to Camp McClellan, Alabama, where they became part of the 29th Division.

    In addition to the national guard, the U.S. implemented the Selective Service—the draft. Maryland eventually provided more than 34,000 inductees through this program, the first of whom were sent to Camp Meade on September 26, 1917. Marylanders inducted through this program constituted a large part of the 79th Division. However, the demand for trained soldiers, especially officers and non-commissioned officers, throughout the AEF was so severe that the 79th—and other divisions still in the U.S.—were constantly losing those who had recently undergone training to fill the gaps in divisions either in France, or deploying sooner.

    Men and women from Maryland served throughout the military, including the Army, Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard. Maryland was especially noted for its contribution of medical officers to high positions in the American Expeditionary Forces.

    The 29th Division was known as the ‘Blue and Gray’ Division because its combat regiments came from both northern and southern states. Maryland contributed the 115th Infantry Regiment, and the 110th Artillery Regiment. Together with the 116th Infantry Regiment from Virginia, this constituted the 58th Infantry Brigade—the Gray part of the division. New Jersey provided two infantry regiments that formed the 57th Infantry Brigade—the Blue part. After forming at Camp McClellan, the division finally deployed to France in June 1918. After training in quiet sectors of the front, the 29th Division fought in the final major battle of the war--Meuse-Argonne Offensive that began in October 1918. In its 21 days of combat, the division suffered more than 30% killed or wounded.

    The 29th Division returned to the U.S. in May, 1919, demobilizing at Camp Dix, New Jersey at the end of that month. The 29th remains a National Guard today, and includes units of the Maryland National Guard.

    The 79th Division was one of the new national army divisions. It followed a path similar to that of the 29th, though its ranks were filled with the new inductees rather than national Guardsmen. It was formed in August 1917, sailed to France in July 1918, and fought with the American Expeditionary Force in the Meuse-Argonne offensive. As a result of its service in France, the division was nicknamed ‘The Cross of Lorraine Division.’ Like the 29th Division, the 79th suffered about 30% killed and wounded during the offensive. It returned to the U.S. and demobilized in June, 1919.

    More than 11,000 African Americans from Maryland also served in the US military in World War I. The military at that time was largely segregated and, to a large extent, African Americans served in non-combat logistics roles in the rear areas. While unglamorous, the functions they performed were critical to military success, and literally kept the wheels of the American Expeditionary Force turning. African Americans helped move supplies from French seaports to warehouses, along railroad tracks they laid or maintained, and then distributed the supplies to forward areas to the combat units.

    Others served in combat units, including the 92nd and 93rd Infantry Divisions, formed with African Americans from every state. Included among these were soldiers of the Maryland National Guard’s 1st Separate Company. After being mustered into active service with other National Guard units in July 1917, this unit became part Company I of the 372nd Infantry Regiment in the 93rd Division. Regiments from the 93rd Division were assigned to French divisions, trained with and used French equipment, and fought gallantly during several major battles of 1918. As a result of their service during the Second Battle of the Marne, the division was nicknamed the ‘Blue Helmets’ and wore a patch with the familiar blue helmet of the French ‘poilu.’ The 372nd Infantry were assigned to the French 157th ‘Red Hand’ Division. The 92nd Division was wore a patch with a buffalo, in honor of African American cavalry units on our western frontier who were called ‘Buffalo Soldiers’ by Native Americans.

    Maryland also contributed its share to the naval forces, supporting the regular navy and Marines as well as the Naval Reserve and Coast Guard with nearly 11,000 servicemen, including more than 500 African Americans. In July, 1917, the U.S. navy also took over a small maritime organization belonging to Maryland’s State Conservation Commission. The ‘Oyster Navy,’ as it was called, was redesignated as Squadron 8, Fifth Naval District. With about 100 men and 19 small craft, it patrolled Maryland waters until early December 1918, after the war ended. The city of Baltimore also became a navy center for a variety of activities, including recruiting, naval intelligence, and securing the region’s waterways.

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